Running The Trails Of Nuvali

The notion of trails conjures up jaunts in old-growth, secluded forests that goes through wild sceneries of rolling terrain alongside gently flowing rivers and cascading waterfalls. Except…i was running right smack on the waters of a flowing river, this time! 

Last Sunday, having been invited by Ann Tajonera, Assistant Brand Manager of New Balance, Planet Sports, Inc., i had the pleasure of joining 22 other trail runners try-out a 15km trail in the Nuvali Headlands in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, parts of which will be used during the New Balance- Trail Adventure Run this coming June 20th. It was also an opportunity to practice in its truest form the art of Chi Running (CR) and no less than certified instructor Lit Onrubia was on hand to lead the charges, giving tips during the run and between rest breaks. 

This particular trail was mapped-out by Neville Manaois of Second Wind. The first half of the route featured mostly single track paths and weaves through rolling, open view sceneries. The trails offer excellent footing, a pleasant scenery although it could be hot in the open except that we had perfect weather during the early morning run. 

The second-half of the trail was more scenic, running through light forest, wider tracks but not too technical. However, all that changed when we were led into a deep, sharp descent towards a ridge and a river channel of lush wilderness. The river run was going to be the highlight of this trail. We were only able to run some shallow stretches of water as we were reduced to threading the waters which at some sections were knee deep high. It was slippery on the rocks and one false move, we were down on our knees on the water! For starters, these were some of the pictures taken:

Lit Onrubia giving instructions before the run

Neville Manaois giving a short briefing of the trail

Start of the run at about 5:00am

On one of the course's uphills

Sprinting runners behind me

Lit giving instructions on how to attack the downhills...

...and the uphills

More tips on running form

Our first water break after 3 kms

Off we go again

Running on a single track

Time out for a picture!

The wide, open plains of Nuvali

Past grazing cows on the left

One more briefing before we head for the river

At the 10k mark

Another hole to get through

Ann's all too excited to reach the river

Final assault of the river

Finally reaching the river's embankment

Lit giving tips on river running

Getting our feet wet!

Threading on the slippery rocks. Neville (in red) doing a balancing act

Deep inside the levee. I'm way back still taking shots

A stop at a cascading waterfalls

We were all wet at this point

We all sank ankle high, sometimes knee deep

Poor trail shoe!

A deep ravine on the right side

The group on our way back to Manila

I was just content in threading the river trail very slowly as i ran/walked most of the route shooting away pictures. Runners were passing me but i didn’t mind. I was able to reach a female runner ahead of me and we decided to run the last kilometer together. 

Finally, we saw the finish area as we gently jogged the end of our run. Hallelujah! I learned a tremendous deal on this particular trail run and i thank Lit for the invaluable tips. Foremost among the various techniques Lit imparted are: 

—  Be loose on the “downhills.” Posture your body on a sitting-like position and focus on a faster cadence, keeping your feet soft, light and nimble while keeping shoulders relaxed. Drive down hard if you want. 

—  Focus on maintaining “effort” level and not pace. 

—  Take it easy on single tracks, but go fast on wider lanes. 

—  Let your arms do the work on uphills and lift-up your head. 

—  When running through rivers, attack the shallow parts without minding if your shoes get wet. If tiny stones and sand get the insides of your shoe, don’t hesitate to stop and remove them to avoid blisters. 

—  If racing on trails, shoot corners/bends. It means sprint past the corners when runners behind you can’t see you and you should be able to increase the distance between you and the runners following you. 

Over-all, it was another fun trail run that should be experienced by all trail enthusiasts!

34 responses to “Running The Trails Of Nuvali

  1. Wow… this run must have been exhilarating. 😀 Love the wide plains photo. It doesn’t look easy but it looks like fun. Maybe I’ll try this next year. 😉

    • Hi Jayme! Running trails is indeed exhilarating, just needs getting used to running on uneven surfaces. In no time, you’ll get the hang of it!

      Thanks for dropping by!:-)

    • Hi Jet–i’ve asked that already. Private property kasi itong Nuvali. We’ll have to ask permission from the developer in order to run there.:-(

  2. We had fun last Sunday, Rene. Thanks for coming and for taking the awesome pictures. Your pictures capture the beauty of this Nuvai trail very well! Parang ayaw ko na talaga bumalik sa kalye pagkatapos mag-trail!

    • Thanks, Lit! Those short lectures of yours sure opened a lot of windows for us in improving our running form and enhanced our knowledge of trail running. See you again on the trails soon!:-)

    • Thanks, Brian! It was a the first time we hit these trails and the route was really gorgeous.

      • Nice pics sir!!! we look forward for the June 20 race…Actually we came late that day…anyway, its good to experience even the starting point.hehehe

      • Hi Rico. Sorry to hear that you came late. Twas loads of fun specially the river crossing. Hope to see you at the June 20 race.

        Thanks for dropping by!:-)

    • Hi Ben. It’s a nice trail, quite challenging just for the river-trek alone. Thanks for dropping by!:-)

  3. ayos to…sana makatakbo ako dito ulit, podium sana kame dati dito nung trail run last Feb 14, kaya lang nawala kame nung pakner ko,…pero bagong route na ata ito sir rene no?

    • Hi Angel! Yup, new route (daw). According to the organizers, there will be km markers here so nobody gets lost this time.:-)

    • Hey, Boypra! Nice meeting you during the trail run! Hope to see you on the 20th! Thanks for dropping by!:-)

  4. Hi sir rene!

    How long did the entire trail run last? The pix will definitely enthuse friends who love running to earmark a future Nuvali train run some time this year. I hope there will be more. Meantime we will have to aim eventually working out 10 to 15k weekly long runs, ….

    dette dv

    • Hi Dette! Well the trail’s distance is 15k but we stopped and walked a lot, savoring the scenery so it took us maybe 2 to 3 hrs to finish the entire course.

      We may have to include a trail run also for the benefit of the running clinic participants.:-)

  5. Hi Sir Rene!

    Nice running with you and the rest of the team last Sunday. I didn’t know the distance was 15K until you confirmed it here, I thought the new balance people said it was just 10K! No wonder it seemed like we were running forever, I had body aches until yesterday. Anyway, I enjoyed the training a lot, it’s been great! See you guys at the trail again on June 20.

    ed c

    • Hi Ed! I’m still nursing the pain in my foot which seemed to worsen my heel spur.:-( Anyway, it was a great run and had much fun running with you guys.

      Thanks for dropping by!:-)

  6. Hi Sir Rene,

    Nice meeting you on the trail run. Thanks for the post its like i’m reliving the run all over again. I had a blast during the run.

  7. Hi! For the 5K pair run on the 20th, will we be able to reach the river crossing?? We already paid and registered yesterday @ the Athlete’s Foot Rob Galleria but they don’t have the kits yet. :c We will pick it up by next week. How can we reserve seats for the free transpo going to Nuvali w/out our race bibs because their not yet available in the reg site?! Hoping for your prompt reply. Thanks!

    • Hi Babybuns– i would suggest you email Ms. Ann Tajonera at: You can leave your names to her for your reservations.

      I don’t think the 5k route will reach the river crossing but to be sure, you can ask Ann.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Hi,

    Is the trail open for public? Like if we wanted to have a training trail run…is it okay or open for those who would like to do so? Thanks!

    • Hi Webster. No, i don’t think its open to the public. There are barriers and guards manning each entry point leading to the trails.

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